The Heroic version of Blade Lord fell to us on Thursday. The last few wipes were edge-of-your-seat attempts largely because we kept wiping with less than 5%. Players had a hard time making the run from one side to the other. We had some deaths early on and I ran out of battle res’s for them. Tornadoes were snatching up people out of the air. We hit the enrage timer multiple times. Eventually, we scored the kill with around 11 seconds left before the berserk.
After one of our close attempts, one of our officers made the comment that players should be busting out their own 300 stat food instead of the usual 275 stats.
Kudos for making a fair point.
We were a couple of million health short of finishing off the Blade Lord at the time and there are no arguments from me saying that if the players alive had those extra stats, it would have easily translated into a kill. The combined 600+ stats would’ve turned those low percentage wipes into a kill.
As the GM, I could “demand” the players make the necessary changes and effort. But deep down I know that’s no small feat. How am I supposed to enforce a directive like that? This is one of those things where I have to appeal to them. Your GM needs to make the case to you that this stuff is important and the time and energy to get this steroid food created is worth it.
Now if I go down this route, I’d have to ask players to valor cap as well.
I know for a fact that not everyone valor caps. People are sick of doing their dailies and their faction grinds. I get that and I had to bite my tongue for the longest time. Even though I personally just suck it up and do them to get my coin rolls and stuff, I find ways to deal with it. I’ll watch something on Netflix while mindlessly knocking them out. Not everyone has time to grind these out either because people have to work or they have family obligations or other things and don’t have the capability to commit that time to them.
Raise that bar too high and you run the risk of alienating (or worse, running out of) the players that you raid with. It’s a fine line to walk.
I’ll be completely frank.
As GM, I’d love it if every player did the following:
- Valor capped on a weekly basis
- Provided their own potions and flasks
- Pushed their dailies enough to hit exalted with all the factions
- Continue pushing dailies to sustain bonus rolls on a weekly basis
- Did their own cooking with their personal supply of 275 and 300 stat food
But this is not a realistic expectation for a guild of this calibre as much as it pains me to admit it. We’re not the kind of organization with those level of demands. Based on that list, the average player does maybe 3 or 4 of those tops.
Hitting exalted with the Pandaria factions has a high value early in the expansion but it greatly diminishes as you gain gear from raiding. It’s just not as important in the late stage.
Further analysis of our raids and our logs showed that we can improve our performance in other areas with greater effect without exerting that much time and work. Using Phoenix Style, I discovered that while a large majority of our players were already pre-potting, there were still a small number that were not. That’s unfortunate because if they had been, it would’ve easily been enough to secure the kills earlier!
This is partially my fault to blame. Our raiding roster often has a turnover and sometimes you expect players to do already do things like pre-pot, but some people don’t because they don’t have access to the herbs or don’t know an alchemist who can make this stuff for them. Personally, I think potions and flasks are much more accessible nowadays than they were in the past. I don’t think there’s any reason or excuse at all to come to a raid without a supply of your own. I did not make that expectation that players are to utilize pre-pots but I set the record straight on that one shortly before Blade Lord dropped.
Where does this leave us with the steroid food?
My thought was that if we were consistently pushing bosses into the enrage timer with all players alive and executing near-flawless, that’s when the super food should be used. If we’re just learning a new boss or if players continue to die to simple things, then we shouldn’t use them just yet because we’re getting outskilled and need to tighten up our play.
Going back to that Blade Lord example, we were consistently getting better at not dying in the first 80%. But had we perfected our survivability on Blade Lord, then this discussion would not have come up.
Eventually, a compromise was reached. It just so happens a small group of players are chefs and just love cooking, farming, and fishing. They generously volunteered their time to stockpile the bank with a large supply under the conditions that these items should only be used in the event of an imminent kill. Of course, the raiders were asked to provide the necessary items like the Black Pepper and Rice Flour items which are only purchasable with Iron Paw tokens.
Our next step is Wind Lord. This guy seems easy — In theory.
By the way, thanks for the Blade Lord pointers, LedonLite! They helped!